Tag Archives: clothing

RDP Wednesday – WOOL…

From the shearing of the goats and sheep to the final product, this is the story of wool. My daughter and I went to our first shearing event several years ago and it was beyond interesting. The way the animals sort of zone out while they’re being sheard to the softness and warmth of the lanolin drenched wool fresh off the sheep and goats. The last picture is of sweater my daughter made.

The shearing…

Roving to yarn to dyed yarn to sweater…

Review: Little Women Knits

Review: Little Women Knits post image

First, the facts:

Title: Little Women Knits

Author: Joanna Johnson

Illustrator: LaurelJohnson

Published by: Slate Falls Press, 2020

Pages: 48

Type: Patterns


No chapters, just the patterns

The In-Depth Look:

If you know Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, you probably have an image in your head of the four sisters, rambling about their Massachusetts home, doing what they can to stretch a penny while dealing with the challenges of growing up in each others’ pockets.

I sometimes think that the reason this is the best-known of Alcott’s stories is because we can all relate to the difficulty of growing up and figuring out who we are, while also feeling nostalgic about the past when things seemed, if not easier, at least more simple.

That is the vibe this pattern collection hits. When I say it’s not the most adventurous collection I’ve seen, that is in no way a complaint about the patterns. It’s more that they exude a sense of charm and a warm hominess.

The patterns here are a bundle of different types–shawls, socks, wraps, a sweater–meant to be cozy and comforting in a troubled time. Just like when the original Little Women took place during the Civil War (when things were anything but settled or secure), I think we all are longing for a sense of solidity and just want something warm to cuddle in while waiting for the world to make sense again.

Really, this collection couldn’t have come at a better time.

The designs are by Joanna Johnson, who always seems to find a creative way to capture the essence of her literary inspirations. (If you haven’t you should check out her Anne of Green Gables and Sherlock Holmes collections.) These patterns are not full of fancy stitches or complicated construction, but they are the kind of straight-forward comfort you get from a simple cup of cocoa on a cold day. Sometimes all you really want is the familiar instant kind with marshmallows you grew up with.

Sure the fancy homemade kind with heavy cream and melted chocolate can be luscious, but knitwear doesn’t have to be fancy and furbelowed to hit the spot any more than chocolate does. When you just want to snuggle into some wooly warmth on the couch, you want something soft that’s well-designed, like the shawl here that ties at the back–all warmth, no drama.

In addition to the reassuringly simple designs, we have lovely hand-drawn illustrations by Joanna’s talented daughter Laurel Johnson, as well as beautiful atmospheric photos by Christa Tippmann. The hand-dyed yarns which all look fabulous all come from Rachel Lundstrom.

All in all, this collection is like a warm hug–sweet, simple, and comforting.

I think Louisa May Alcott would be proud.

This review copy was kindly donated by Slate Falls Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Sweet and gentle; pure comfort.

Other posts for this author:

2020 Photo Challenge #30…

This month’s final assignment is to try creating a 3D image. Include elements in the foreground and background that work together to separate those two parts of the scene. My choices are from museums I have visited in the last year or so.

Metropolitan Museum of Art ~ New York City

Portland Maine Museum of Art ~ Portland, Maine

Albany Institute of History and Fine Art ~ Albany, New York. The exhibit was called ‘Well Dressed in Victorian Albany’.


Meeting Carly Simon, Finally…

What’s it like to finally meet someone you’ve admired for years, someone you have  come close to meeting through mutual friends but didn’t for one reason or another, and so you resigned yourself to the fact that it would never happen!  Carly Simon has always been an inspiration to me through her song lyrics and through her written words, and to meet her, although for only a few minutes…. well, it was down right awesome, nerve wracking and surreal and all I hoped it would be.


After 40 years of being a fan and admirer of Carly Simon – 5 concerts (MV with Harry Connick Jr, NJ art center, Lincoln Center, the Apollo and Joe’s Pub in NYC)…

 After a lifetime of both of us having a connection to Martha’s Vineyard and never ever meeting each other it finally happened on Oct 24th here in NJ at Carly’s book signing for her new book ‘Touched By The Sun’ about her long time friend ship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

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How did this come to be after all these years?  Carly has done signings of CD’s and books over the years in NYC but I’ve never been able to make them, but when it was announced she was going to be on this side of the Hudson River in New Jersey and not far from where I live, and an early evening appearance… we knew it had to be now or possibly never.

My daughter got off from work early and we left around 3 for the 6 o’clock signing.  We got to Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ around 4.  There were already maybe 7 people in line outside, we went into the book store to purchase our reserved copies of the book which were our tickets into the event, got a refreshment and then got in line which had swelled to about 12 people by then.  I was so relieved to be near the front, and my daughter could relax knowing she had delivered me bright and early to the event.  I tend to get anxious sometimes and this was absolutely one of those times. The final estimate was between 250-300 people.  Around 5 they led us into the bookstore and downstairs into a large room where they had a sort of roped off maze of lanes which led up to the front of the room where there was a desk. My description is horrible but the concept was great as it kept everyone orderly and in order of how you first got in line.  As in most cases when you’re in a line for awhile for something you begin chatting with those around you, some were sitting on the floor already reading Carly’s book, my daughter was knitting socks, everyone was friendly, happy and anxious for 6pm to roll around.

A little after 6 we were all led back upstairs where Carly was seated behind a desk waiting for her eager fans.


Carly looked gorgeous, she was charming, gracious and warm, she didn’t rush anyone and spoke to you like the two of you were the only ones in the room.  I was afraid I would turn out to be one of those ‘gushy’ fans that says the same things she’s heard a zillion times so I practiced in my head what I wanted to say in the short amount of time I had.  I did not gush, I did not blather, I did not forget my name, or hers,  I was my version of cool.


I wonder if we were both thinking the same thing…


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If you’re wondering why the pictures show the back of the jacket I have on, it’s from Carly’s tour in 1978 when her ‘Boys In The Trees’ album came out. I came into possession of the jacket through two mutual friends of mine and Carly’s and thought she might get a kick out of seeing it.  She did.

Thank you Carly for all the years of your incredible music,your heart felt lyrics (there’s a Carly song for every emotion),  and for books, you are truly an inspiration.





Photo A Day Challenge: Orange…



Photo A Day Challenge: Patterns…




Photo A Day Challenge: Frosty Blue…

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Favorite Posts of 2018…

January – Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence (click here)

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April – Downtown Newark, New Jersey Walking Tour (click here)


May – Day Trip to Albany, New York (click here)



Museum of the American Revolution – Philadelphia, Pa (click here)



July – Sunset Sky (click here)

Heading to New Jersey over the George Washington Bridge at sunset… (does anyone else see 2 eyes and a mouth at the top of the bridge?)  🙂


August –My Great-Uncle, Louis A Young … The Incredible Man With No Hands…click here)
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October – Maine-Cemeteries and Meanderings, Part I (click here)

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Maine – Meanderings and Museums, Part II (click here)


December – Photo A Day Challenge, Letter ‘M’ (click here)

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City


There you have it, my favorite posts from 2018… onward to 2019 🙂















Review: Gradient Style

Review: Gradient Style post image


First, the facts:

Title: Gradient Style: Color-Shifting Techniques and Knitting Patterns

Editor: Kerry Bogert

Published by: Interweave Knits, 2018

Pages: 160

Type: Knitting patterns


Getting Started
The Projects

KS: Gradient Style

The In-Depth Look:

I’ve always loved gradient yarns–the way the color flows from one shade to the next appeals to me. These days, there are so many talented dyers putting out such lovely color combinations, but it’s not always easy to find the right patterns to go with them.

This book addresses that.

To start, the book talks about how to choose and use gradients, whether that’s through putting together your own combination or using one commercially available. There’s a nice description of how to use the Color Wheel with all its hues and tones, compliments and analogous colors. There are suggestions for combining and using your own choices–should they be semi-solids? Speckled yarns? A mix of both?–as well as a discussion on how to blend the colors in your knitting. All useful information.

This is followed by nineteen patterns of various things you can knit with your gradients. There is the usual blend here–some sweaters, some scarves, some cowls, socks, even a pair of mittens. All of them (obviously) use gradients, sometimes set against a solid color, sometimes in blocks, sometimes as a fair isle style stranded color pattern.

Really, I’m never going to complain about patterns using color gradients.

You can get a copy of this book at your local shop or buy it here at Amazon.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Who doesn’t love gradients?

100 Knits

100 Knits post image


First, the facts:

Title: 100 Knits: Interweave’s Ultimate Pattern Collection

Published by: Interweave Knits

Pages: 512

Type: Pattern Collection


Hats & Socks
Scarves, Cowls, Shawls & Wraps
Tanks & Tees

KS: 100 Knits

The In-Depth Look:

Are you a fan of Interweave Knits magazine, or its sister publication, Knitscene? How about their books?

Because this book–full to the brim of 100 patterns–is a selection of their most popular recent patterns, along with their five most popular patterns of all time (as of publication, anyway).

This makes for a HUGE collection. Over 500 pages filled with all kinds of things to knit–hats and socks, wraps and sweaters of all descriptions. And all loved by countless knitters, because these were all selected by the number of people who have “liked” them or knitted them.

It’s an impressive list of patterns by an impressive list of designers. (The list of credits runs five pages.)

So, no, these aren’t new patterns, but there’s no question there are a lot of them, all good, all popular for a reason! It is well worth checking it out. You can order it here or get it at your favorite shop.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Huge collection!